Illini women's tennis breaks even at ITA Kickoff

By Tim Griffin

The Illini women’s tennis team split its matches over the weekend in Lubbock, Texas, winning its first match against No. 30 Virginia Tech 4-3, but losing to No. 17 Texas Tech 4-1. The Illini needed to win both matches this weekend to qualify for the ITA National Indoor Championship.

Although they fell short against the Red Raiders, the Illini had a few bright spots throughout the matches, specifically in doubles play.

“Our doubles play was fantastic once again today,” head coach Evan Clark said Sunday. “We really came out ready to go and did a great job of controlling the doubles point. We really felt like we had a lot of momentum headed into singles.”

The Illini had victories from doubles partners Louise Kwong and Ines Vias, who defeated No. 25 Lynn Kiro and Alex Valenstein 6-1. The Illini also had a dramatic comeback doubles win from Daniel Pedraza and Alexis Casati, who trailed 1-3 and then won five straight games to win the match. Illinois’ performance so far this season has been strong, having a combined 10-0 record in all doubles matches on the season.

As for singles, the Red Raiders held the upper hand.

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“Credit to the Texas Tech players for bouncing back and really out competing us in singles,” Clark said. “We were not able to dig out of some early holes we put ourselves in and they did a great job of taking the momentum back.”

Jerricka Boone, Madie Baillon, Vias, and Casati all lost to Red Raiders in straight sets, thus resulting in a 1-4 loss for the Fighting Illini.

The Illini head into their next matchup 3-1, and begin preparation for a match against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish which will take place in South Bend on Jan. 31.

“Overall, it was an extremely positive weekend for our program and we are excited for another opportunity vs. Notre Dame on Sunday,” Clark said.

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